BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Stop by and check them out from time to time to see what has changed. May God's blessings to you be abundant. rlkeller


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

GOD’S PEACE

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
        
Peace - Inner contentment; serenity; in a state of tranquility; serene; free from strife.            

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

         Trouble will undoubtedly find us whether we are looking for it or not.  Scripture tells us that we shouldn’t be concerned at all about any day but the one we are living in at the moment, for each day has enough trouble of its own.  Christ came to give us peace, not as the world gives peace, for that peace comes with a price.  Nothing in this world is free.  There are always consequences tied to whatever you do.  Those tied to knowing the Lord are pleasant; filled with serenity and inner contentment.  It’s simply a matter of allowing the Spirit to calm your spirit.  That comes from quiet reflection.  The peace of God is like a tranquil pool of water; motionless, serene.  We find peace so infrequently in our lives, yet it is within our grasp if we truly believe in God and understand who we are in Him. 
         There is nothing this world can dole out that we cannot handle with God’s help.  He desires for us not to have a carefree existence, but rather an existence that doesn’t overcome us.  We can conquer any difficulty if we just trust the Lord to work things out for our ultimate good.  He WILL do it.
       “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” (Philippians 4:6-7)  The peace spoken of in scripture is something the world knows nothing of.  It makes no sense to the unregenerate mind.  God’s peace doesn’t change the circumstances you are in, it changes the way you react or don’t react to them, whichever the case may be.  God loves you with an ever abiding and unconditional love that shall never fade or disappear.  There is nothing we could ever think, say or do that would cause the Lord to stop loving us.  That alone should give us a measure of peace.  As believers in Christ we are forgiven.  Let the peace of God rain down upon you as you lift up His name.  He is worthy of all glory.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!        

Monday, December 29, 2014

WHO WILL YOU TRUST?

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.”  Jeremiah 17:5, 7-8a
         There is a marked difference between trusting in man and trusting in God.  One is the creature, the other the creator of the creature.  When you look at it that way perhaps it reveals the folly in trusting men at all.  Men are immensely flawed. Were they not they wouldn’t need someone to save them from themselves.  Mortal man feels confident that going to church and devoting oneself to God’s service is fine for some, but not for them.  Let the women go to church; men need to provide for their families.  Apparently they see no correlation between provision and the creator of all things.  The disconnect is obvious and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. 
         People in general turn from “religious” things never realizing that it isn’t religion at all, but a personal relationship.  It’s difficult to many men to shed their outward toughness in favor of a sensitive, God-loving heart. To love God is to serve Him.  To serve Him is to be open to being used as a vehicle for the message God seeks to present to fallen man.  This flies in the face of what the world has defined men to be.  Men are to be rugged, take charge, type-A personalities who show no weakness.  We were told years ago that the ideal man was a “Marlboro” man.  He roped calves, busted broncs, took no guff, all with a Marlboro cigarette in his mouth.  That was the world’s definition of a man’s man.  A godly man just didn’t fit their image.
         Placing your trust in man is a foolhardy endeavor that leads you nowhere of any significance.  The ‘things’ we provide through our hard work will in time fade away from this earth.  God alone provides that which we are reluctant to admit we truly seek.
         We are the tree; the Lord is the stream of cool water that refreshes us. The tree’s roots stretch out seeking sustenance from the stream.  The stream is ever present and never fails to quench our thirst.  Don’t seek the wisdom and sustaining power of men, for you will come up lacking every time.  Rather, lean heavily on the strength of the Lord for He will not fail you. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

RESURGENCE

“Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”  Psalm 103:2-5
         A Davidic Psalm that lifts up the name of the Lord and gives us specific benefits to knowing Him.  As if forgiveness were not enough, He also heals our sicknesses and diseases.  We are spared an eternity in the fiery pit and crowned with His love and compassion.  Finally, David states that the creator of all things satisfies our greatest desires. 
         If ever we needed an example of how to treat one another and how to act in general, it’s now.  With all the violence breaking out around the world, love and compassion appear to be in short supply in many regions.  As believers in Christ and imitators of Him who lived a perfect life, we are to be the vehicle God uses to bring peace to a world in short supply of it.  We are to be a catalyst for change.  God wishes to use us to reveal to sinful and dying people that the Lord is real and that He loves and cares for each of them without exception.  This can only be done thru the power of the Holy Spirit, for the world is resistant to anything that they feel will shunt their personal satisfaction.  Love has been replaced with lust and priorities are terribly skewed. It is our responsibility as believers in the light to shine it wherever darkness exists.  It’s a tall task, but not impossible, for nothing is impossible with God.  If He can raise Lazarus and even His own Son from the grave, is there anything the Lord cannot do?
          Rekindling the faith of others is a task that should bring us joy.  Watching the eyes of a revitalized soul ignite where the flame had died out should be our heavenly quest.  We must be prepared to speak up when called upon by the Spirit.  We must go boldly and proclaim His word whenever we are compelled to do so.  It isn’t an arbitrary thing, but rather mini-events in time led by the Spirit that is within us.  God will use us to reveal Himself to those around us if we allow Him to.  Be open to His leading each day and make 2015 a year of spiritual resurgence.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, December 26, 2014

RIGHTEOUS DEVOTION

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.”  Luke 2:25-27a 
         Simeon was a man who was intensely passionate about God.  God saw him as morally pure.  This is what it means when it says that he was “righteous and devout”.  This is what the Lord desires of us as His children. 
         Now that the Christmas holiday is past and the mundane things of life take their grip on our daily lives once again, what are we going to do?  Was Christmas just a time of spiritual reflection that is quickly dismissed by the busyness of our days?  Could there be anything more important that our personal and abiding relationship with Almighty God? 
         It is said of Simeon that the Holy Spirit was upon him and revealed certain things to him.  The Spirit also moved him to go to the Temple courts to see the future of Israel in person just as God had promised him.  Are we close enough to God to sense His Spirit moving upon us and guiding us?  Christianity is not a belief system that we partake of casually as we would a movie or a chess game; it is a mission that we have been called upon since our salvation to make others aware of their souls condition.  We are not all necessarily called to stand on the street corner and preach to the masses as they pass by; however, we are called to imitate Christ in our daily lives as the Spirit enables us.
          Let this be your New Year’s resolution, to be more like Christ each day.  Also make it a point to read a portion of scripture daily, applying it to your life.  God      forgave you of all your sins for what reason?  To simply smile, wave and go on?  Not hardly. We are called to be righteous and devoted followers of Jesus Christ, living each day as if it were our last.  Make the most of each day for the Lord.  If you lack the desire to live your life striving to emulate Christ, then don’t call yourself a Christian. Just say you believe in God, for a Christian is someone who lives for Christ.  If this seems harsh perhaps it’s time for some introspection*.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

* Contemplation of one's own thoughts, feelings, and sensations; self-examination.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Luke 2:20
         While we have not seen God, we have been told and read about His marvelous and miraculous deeds throughout history.  The Old Testament and the New are riddled with them.  The shepherds had actually seen with their own eyes the star, the angel and the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths.  How exciting it must have been for them, so much so that they left praising and glorifying God.  It was just as the angel had said. 
         We believe the story of the birth of Christ yet we were not there to see it with our own eyes.  We are blessed if we do for Christ Himself says so in John’s gospel (20:29).  You remember doubting Thomas.  He wouldn’t believe Christ had risen unless he could see it for himself.  Jesus declared that while he had seen and believed, those that believe and yet had not seen were more blessed than he.
          The Christmas story may be considered a myth to some, but to the true believer it is the crux of our belief system.  Without the Christ child there could be no crucifixion.  Without His shed blood there is no redemption.  The Christmas story is vital in that it galvanizes what we believe.  It’s so much more than the exchange of gifts.  How many households will not even mention the name of Christ or the true reason for the season on Christmas Day?  It may not be the actual day Christ was born over 2000 years ago, but it is the day we have set aside to remember the event.  It is essential that we keep Christ in Christmas for without that event our holiday becomes nothing more than another reason to have a party.  Merry CHRISTmas everyone!  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

MARY PONDERED

“…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:19
         Like any mother would, Mary observed everything that was said of her son prior to His birth and thereafter.  She took note of what had happened with Elizabeth and the shepherds and clearly remembered what the angel had told her.  While she may not have understood it all, by faith she accepted it and did as any mother would do who was going to bear a child. 
         How does Mary relate to all believers? We can also marvel at the amazing and at times miraculous events that have taken place in our lives.  There is no doubt that the biblical events surrounding Mary had a deep and profound impact on her life and as a result, her faith in God.  If God could do all that He had done for her, surely there was nothing He could not do.  Think about that for a moment.  Is there anything Almighty God cannot do?  When you find yourself out of work or in financial difficulties, is God on vacation or simply unaware of our situation; certainly not.  Our impatience and demand for instant results keeps us from seeing the big picture.  If we received everything we wanted rather than everything we needed, how would our lives be changed? 
         There is no way Mary could know all that would take place in the life of Jesus when she held Him in her arms shortly after his birth.  She clung to the faith that God would meet her every need throughout her life and would watch over His own Son as well.  Everything that had happened and would happen during their lives was pre-ordained by the Lord.  Mary was the conduit used to bring about salvation for all mankind.  She saw everything that was going on about her and treasured these things.  
         To ponder is “to reflect or thoroughly consider” 1. How many times do you stop in the course of your busy life and ponder on the events that are unfolding all around you.  God is at work, just as He was over 2000 years ago.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  As Mary witnessed for herself, the Lord makes promises and then keeps them when He knows the time is right.  Just like Mary, we have nothing to fear, ever, for the Lord is with us wherever we go (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9). Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

1American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Monday, December 22, 2014

GOOD NEWS

THERE WILL BE NO DEVOTIONAL 
ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

… (the Shepherds) were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”  Luke 2:9b-10
         The sudden appearance of heavenly angels out of nowhere in the darkness of night would have terrified anyone and the Shepherds were no different. The angel assured them that he came in peace by proclaiming that he brought good news, which would undoubtedly be well received by the people.  A Savior had come into the world.  Not a warrior king as the Jews had been expecting, but rather a baby who would grow to be a man over the course of time. Knowing that their Savior and Messiah had come in the form of a baby must have been a disappointment to some, for they wished to be rid of the Roman rule that dominated the area.  In their minds the Messiah would take care of all that.  The Jews were not real keen on waiting.  It just seemed to them that now was the time rather than later. 
         Patience isn’t one of man’s greatest attributes.  We all struggle with the concept of waiting.  We always want to know how long the wait will be.  Faith gives us no answers in this regard except ‘be patient and wait’.  The unwritten footnote is that we are expected to wait as long as it takes.  God always knows exactly what He’s doing. In the interest of spiritual growth we are kept in the dark as to He plans.
         The good news spoken of is, in essence, the Gospel message.  The great joy that this message brings is that the sins of all would be placed on the body of One.  No more would they have to go annually to bring a spotless sacrifice to the High Priest to present before God as a means of covering over their sins from the past year. Now they would be paid for once for all time through the blood sacrifice of Christ.
        Think of it this way: the Old Testament way of forgiveness is like having the word SIN written in indelible marker on a piece of wood, then once a year having white paint brushed over it to conceal it.  The sin is still there, it has just been covered over.  After Christ’s blood sacrifice was made it was like having the word SIN written on a white board, then running an eraser thru the word, removing it from the board.  The sin has been taken away as if it was never there in the first place.  We become JUSTIFIED (Just As If I’d Never Sinned!) That’s the difference!  THAT is the good news of great joy for all the people.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

SHEKINAH

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”  Luke 2:9
         Picture yourself in an open field with darkness all around you and suddenly someone appears before you.  This person is great in physical stature and he was accompanied by a blinding brightest that shone all around him.  I think it’s pretty easy to understand why the shepherds in Luke’s account were terrified.  What was this brightness?  Could it have been the Shekinah glory of God?  I believe that’s exactly what it was. 
         The Hebrew word is Sh’cheenah.  We pronounce it Shekinah*.  It means “that which dwells” and is from the verb shakhen or shakhan, “to dwell” or “reside”.  It is the presence of Almighty God. Though the word Shekinah isn’t found in scripture, there are several allusions to it in Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 17:5; Romans 9:4 and the verse we have above.1 
         The Shekinah glory of God had dwelt upon the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies within the Tabernacle until the day when Christ opened the access to the Holy of Holies by His death (Matthew 27:51).  From that day forward all righteous believers in Christ would be filled with God’s Shekinah glory, the indwelling of His presence.
       With this in mind, how should we live our lives?  Perhaps if people who professed to be Christians understood more about what being a Christian was meant to be and what God’s presence within really meant, they would live differently, perhaps not.  Some folks need to be shone before they will react, but seeing isn’t using faith.  Faith is believing what cannot be seen as if it can.  Activate your faith today and understand what it truly means to be all God knows you can be in this life.  His Shekinah glory resides within you.  Live like it.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
* she-ki’na:  short ‘e’ – long ‘i’ – short ‘a’ sound.
1 [Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SHEKINAH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 

Friday, December 19, 2014

GOD’S FAVOR

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:13-14
         The King James translation has the words “on earth peace, good will toward men”.  Many other translations word it “on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased”, which means something quite different.  The Holy Bible in its Original Order believes the translation should be closer to the following: Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth AMONG MEN OF GOODWILL”.  Then there is the New International Version, which translates this portion of scripture as seen above. 
         One thing we can be sure the angels were not saying was that “good will was to come to every unrepentant sinner and enemy of God who would not appreciate the birth of Jesus. Instead, peace would come to everyone seeking the manifestation of the Messiah and who (does) his or her best to obey God.”1
        The great Charles Wesley (1707-1788), English leader of the Methodist movement, penned these words in his song Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled”.  To be reconciled is to bridge the gap man created between himself and God by sinning. Christ was that bridge.  A host of angels, whose number is not revealed, came to proclaim the birth of Christ.  They praised the Father and announced peace to all who would seek God and live according to His statutes.  Christ came to reveal God to men and reveal their unworthiness to stand before Him.
          God’s favor is defined by grace.  He extends His grace to those who would receive it.  It is part of the redemption package that saves one from their sins. If salvation is the gift, then grace is the ribbon and bow adorning the gift.  This package deal should not be taken lightly for it came at a great price.
          Are you among those with whom God finds favor?  You can be.  Seek the face of God today and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Then seize the moment before it is gone.  We are never promised tomorrow.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

1 [www.biblestudy.org]